photograph by Forsyth County Public Library Photograph Collection

With calculated care, Julius Lineback pieced together the rays of his first Moravian star, wooden pieces clacking together and sharp tips jutting out.

Dating back to a schoolhouse geometry lesson in 1830s Germany, this symbol of worship first came to America when groups of Moravians, including Lineback’s grandparents, settled in Pennsylvania and what would later become Winston-Salem. It wasn’t until years later, however, that the Moravian star made its first physical appearance in the area.

Using pyramid-shaped molds that he found in his accounting office, Lineback experimented until he had crafted a star with 26 rays, launching his career as Winston-Salem’s first and only star maker.

When he died at the age of 95 in 1930, his son Harry carried on the star-making tradition, by then an integral part of the holidays in Winston-Salem. Prompted by a letter to the editor of the Winston-Salem Journal, in 1959 city officials displayed 64 around downtown to celebrate Advent and provide a cheerful reminder of the city’s rich Moravian roots.

This story was published on

Victoria Haynes was a summer 2018 editorial intern.

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